A Quick Post About Color Correction Software

A short post about color correction software and my inability to see what is missing.

I don’t typically write about video editing. This is due largely to so many people, who know much more than I do about the subject, writing about it (and making videos). I do not usually feel like I have much to add to the discussion. Until today…

Yesterday I was watching Matti Haapoja’s video, Color Correct Like A Pro –

I don’t really know why I was watching this video as I have a way I color correct my footage and I’ve been doing it for years. Which is not to say that I think I am a pro. Far from it. But at this point I’ve stopped watching videos about the matter because I thought I had things as sorted as they would be.

Watching the video I noticed that in color correcting the footage (using Premiere Pro – which I presently do not use) that his tools looked slightly different than mine.

This is from the web and differs slightly from the basic correction panel but better illustrates my point

Unable to put my finger on the matter I went to my computer, turned on Final Cut Pro X and loaded the color correction plug-in I’ve been using for a few years (Color Finale Pro {version 1}). Low and behold I saw the difference, my program is missing a control/node/thingy that allows me to adjust the shadows.

This is the program I have used consistently for several years

I still struggle with all of the technical names for things so for those of you who prefer clarity to the correct names: Lift controls the highlights, Gamma the midtones and Gain the overall image. If you watch any video pertaining to color correction the ability to control each of these sections of the image is important – as is the ability to make changes to them independent of one another.

This revelation led me to look at another plug-in I purchased (Cinema Grade), after Color Finale Pro and I was surprised to see it has a full set of controls.

I only say I am surprised because the developer is the same, or was the same, for both plug-ins which just makes things weird. It is doubly weird because after purchasing these plug-ins I watched numerous videos to understand how to use them and get the best results. At no point was this issue addressed, nor did I notice the lack of a control. I feel sheepish.

For final points of reference I am including the controls that come with Final Cut Pro X for color correcting (here of course only showing the exposure tab as that is what this post is about).

It isn’t pretty but it gets the job done

Although I almost never use the plug-in to color correct (or adjust exposure) I have been using FilmConvert since 2012 (and now FilmConvert Nitrate). Since it does have the ability to color correct I took a look after my discovery and found the plug-in to have a full set of controls.

And the controls from DaVinci Resolve, the other editing program I use (although much less frequently as I am not as familiar with it).

I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Color Finale Pro clearly took design inspiration from DaVinci Resolve. I find it utterly bizarre that they did not include controls for the shadows. I am completely amazed that it took me years to notice this.

This post is mostly just me saying, “Gosh, can you believe it?” and I know that isn’t overly interesting so I apologize. I wanted to point this out in case there are others who have failed to notice this missing feature. Since noticing it I have found myself using the built in color board of Final Cut (which is free) and getting profoundly better results than with Color Finale – all because I am manipulating the shadows independent from the other portions of the image.

That’s the post, I hope it is helpful to someone out there even if it just makes your color correcting a little easier.

It occurred to me that perhaps this omission was corrected with the newest version of Color Finale Pro {V2} and it appears it has not been. I am including an image below –

This image comes from No Film School

Author: John Ryan Sullivan

I am a writer and filmmaker.

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